District Administrative Offices


Hillsborough Community College (HCC) has an Institutional Review Board that oversees all human subjects research at the College. This type of committee is sometimes referred to as a Human Subjects Committee or Ethics Committee. HCC does not engage in any research involving animals that would require approval by an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

All research conducted at HCC that involves human participants must be reviewed by the IRB in accordance with federal regulations. The purpose of the IRB is to ensure the rights and welfare of human subjects.

In general, only faculty and staff at HCC are permitted to conduct research at the College. There are some exceptions when a researcher collaborates with a full-time faculty or staff member at HCC. If you have any questions regarding permission to conduct research at HCC, please refer to the FAQ section of the IRB website or contact the IRB Office at (813) 253-7080.

What is research?

According to the Code of Federal Regulations (45 CFR 46.102d), research is defined as a systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge.

Systematic investigation refers to an activity that may include:

  • Collection of observational or qualitative data;
  • Collection of data using surveys, testing or evaluation procedures, interviews, or focus groups;
  • Collection of data using experimental designs such as clinical trials; or
  • Some demonstration and service activities.

Contributions to generalizable knowledge means public dissemination of new information meant to create or build upon and add to an existing body of knowledge through any of the following:

  • Meetings, conferences, seminars, poster presentations, for example
  • Publications including journal articles, papers, dissertations, master's theses/projects

A human subject is a living individual about whom a researcher obtains data either

  • Through observation of the individual, or
  • Through intervention or interaction with the individual; or
  • That is identifiable private information.


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